Eating clean has been trending for a while, with an increasing number of people paying more attention to the idea of healthy living. But what is it really like to adhere to a lifestyle of healthy, clean eating in Singapore, especially as a family with a young kid?
The answer is that it is do-able, even though we live on an island with no natural resources and it is cheaper than you may think that it is. Just ask Nina Devouge, a full-time working mother in Singapore (she’s a relationship manager at LinkedIn Singapore) who has managed to make her household one that thrives on eating clean.
In this story she shares with Mummyfique about her journey towards clean eating, and how it is now part of the family’s daily routine.
Mummyfique: Please share with us how you started on the path towards clean eating?
Nina: I was living in Hong Kong in 2010 and then my lifestyle was well, not a good one, and I was always feeling sick, not matter what I did. The work and lifestyle culture didn’t help matters of course.
After a while, I decided enough was enough and I moved out of the central district of Hong Kong Island, determined to make a change in my life. I’m a bit extreme when I set my mind to do something, so from not exercising much in my adulthood, I began hiking every morning. I soon made friends with triathletes who were training at the same time that I was out in the hills, and started to pay attention to what they were eating. That’s where my interest in nutrition, and what I put into my body, came from.
When did you decide to adopt this type of lifestyle?
I devoured everything I could get my hands on about eating right and kickstarted my path to healthy living with the 30 day Whole9 detox programme. There was some trial and error involved but one thing was for certain, I started to feel and look a lot better.
I then met my then-boyfriend (now husband) and within a few weeks of us dating, we discovered that he had celiac and thus he cannot properly process gluten and nuts. This was when it became serious as it wasn’t just a choice but a possible life or death situation. That said, by then it was also a lifestyle that we chose to adhere to and we have since benefitted tremendously from it.
How do you manage your daily meals?
Given the strict guidelines we abide by, we mostly prepare food at home and we get groceries delivered to us. Quanfa Organic has a good range of seasonal and staple vegetables and fruits and they do delivery with a minimum of S$70 spend. For meat, The Butcher has hormone-free whole chickens — one chicken lasts us a good week.
On average we spend about S$150 a week on groceries for my husband, my nearly one-year-old baby, our helper and myself. Some other good stores to get organic, hormone-free ingredients are Little Farms and The Organic Grocer.
Though my workplace has really good meals provided for lunch, I still make it a point to bring in my own meals. It can be difficult but I know that I’m making the right choice for myself and my family.
Do you have any advice for mummies looking at introducing clean, healthy eating to their families?
As the mother who usually is the one in charge of running the household, you have the ability to control a great deal of what goes on and this includes the eating habits of everyone. So take control and make changes.
Of course, if you can start from when they are babies, that’s the best time to influence how they view food. At six months, celery and broccoli were my son’s favourite foods. And remember that you are not alone. Getting support is sometimes crucial for such a transition, especially if your extended family is not supportive.
There is actually a community of people who subscribe to eating clean and one of them is the Nutritional and Natural Health in Singapore Facebook group. Here, there are many tips and resources from fellow Singaporeans and residents of Singapore to help you learn more. With help, it’s really never too late or too difficult to make any changes.
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